Spe­cial vot­ing starts in SA lo­cal elec­tions

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

CAPE TOWN— The much an­tic­i­pated 2016 Mu­nic­i­pal Elec­tions started yes­ter­day for the 719 225 peo­ple al­lowed a spe­cial vote.

A spe­cial vote ac­com­mo­dates peo­ple who can­not get to their vot­ing sta­tion on the big day, be­cause they have a phys­i­cal con­di­tion, or be­cause they will not be in the vicin­ity of their vot­ing sta­tion.

This means some for­ward plan­ning by voters like truck driv­ers, po­lice of­fi­cials, air­line staff, the me­dia, and peo­ple in re­tire­ment homes and hos­pi­tals, as this re­quires a spe­cial ap­pli­ca­tion in ad­vance.

The South Africa Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (IEC) re­ceived more than 740 000 ap­pli­ca­tions for spe­cial votes for this elec­tion — more than three times the num­ber re­ceived in 2011, and nearly dou­ble that re­ceived in 2014.

Of the 719 225 ap­proved spe­cial voters na­tion­wide, 315 597 (44 per­cent) were for home vis­its and 403 628 (56 per­cent) were for early votes at polling sta­tions yes­ter­day and to­day.

An ex­cited vot­ing sta­tion of­fi­cial at the Leibrandt Van Niek­erk com­mu­nity hall in Table­view (Ward 113) in Cape Town said their first voter ar­rived as soon as they opened at 08:00.

“He came in on his way to work,” said the of­fi­cial, who ex­pected 83 spe­cial voters there be­fore the 17:00 cut-off time yes­ter­day and to­day.

The of­fi­cial had al­ready sent off the re­quired SMS to say that they were open for vot­ing.

Western Cape IEC spokesper­son Trevor Davids said: “The vot­ing sta­tions opened okay. We’re up and running, every­thing is op­er­a­tional.”

For this elec­tion, 200 par­ties and 61 014 can­di­dates were cer­ti­fied by the IEC on June 27, 2016. A to­tal of 26 333 353 peo­ple are reg­is­tered to vote across the coun­try, in what is ex­pected to be one the coun­try’s most ex­cit­ing elec­tions.

Vot­ing times for spe­cial votes are from 08:00 to 17:00 to­day — dif­fer­ent to to­mor­row’s vot­ing hours of 07:00 to 19:00.

A po­lice van was parked out­side the vot­ing sta­tion, in line with the pre­cau­tions be­ing taken coun­try wide. Po­ten­tial prob­lems flagged for this elec­tion in­cluded floods and in­tra-party fight­ing.

IEC of­fi­cials will also be trav­el­ling to the homes of voters who had re­quested this in the spe­cial vote process.

This is for the house­bound, el­derly, sick, the dis­abled, or preg­nant women who do not want to stand in a long queue. The of­fi­cials only go to them once, so they are ex­pected to wait at home un­til they have been vis­ited.

An of­fi­cial in a small vot­ing sta­tion in a li­brary in Dunoon, out­side Cape Town, said they were ready for the seven spe­cial voters reg­is­tered at their sta­tion.

The vot­ing booth was squeezed be­tween shelves of books in the fa­cil­ity, which is si­t­u­ated off the sub­urb’s pot-holed road.

Any­body who has reg­is­tered for a spe­cial vote, but was not able to vote on one of the two days, was still al­lowed to vote at their vot­ing sta­tion on elec­tion day., ac­cord­ing to the IEC.

The spe­cial vote gets the same se­cu­rity and se­crecy as every­body else’s vote and the spe­cial votes would be stored overnight and opened and rec­on­ciled with the or­di­nary votes cast on Au­gust 3.— News24.

Cars are piled on top of each other in the Meadow Mill park­ing lot along the Jones Falls in Bal­ti­more on Sun­day, July 31, 2016 low-ly­ing El­li­cott City, Mary­land, was rav­aged by flood­wa­ters Satur­day night, killing a few peo­ple and caus­ing dev­as­tat­ing dam­age to homes and busi­nesses, of­fi­cials said

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